Attorney discusses OSHA's enforcement halt on Biden's employer mandate

Attorney discusses OSHA's enforcement halt on Biden's employer mandate

Attorney discusses OSHA's enforcement halt on Biden's employer mandate

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has, for now, suspended implementation and enforcement of President Joe Biden's rule that private sector workers get COVID shots or test negative as a condition of employment.

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has twice ruled against the Biden administration in a case brought by First Liberty Institute. That case, representing three faith-based entities, is just one of several brought to federal appeals courts challenging the Biden/OSHA proposal.

"Basically, what OSHA is doing here is acknowledging that it is required to follow the Fifth Circuit's direct order that it not take any action to enforce the mandate until the courts adjudicate the question of whether the mandate is in fact legal," says First Liberty attorney Lea Patterson.

Patterson, Lea (First Liberty) Patterson

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has since been selected as the place where all legal challenges to the mandate are heard. That currently amounts to almost three dozen challenges.

"Our three clients – American Family Association, Answers in Genesis, and Daystar Television – all of those petitions for those clients are going to be consolidated with all the rest," Patterson explains. "So, we're looking at a big case moving forward, and we're certainly more than happy for the Sixth Circuit to hear that case."

Attorney Frank Chang with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – which already has two challenges filed in the Sixth Circuit – says his firm is asking the full complement of judges on that circuit to hear the case.

Chang, Frank (ADF attorney) Chang

"When a court of appeals handles cases, they hear with panels of three judges. But because the OSHA private employer mandate cases are of exceptional importance, we are asking all 16 judges of the Sixth Circuit to hear this case directly," says Chang.

The two cases from ADF in the Sixth Circuit involve challenges from The Daily Wire and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. ADF is also involved in State of Missouri v. Biden, as well as the State of Florida v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Those cases were filed in the Eighth and Eleventh Circuits, respectively.

"This is not about COVID-19 vaccines; this is really about federal overreach," Chang continues. "What OSHA is trying to do is a blatant federal overreach – and that's why ADF got involved [because] the feds don't have this kind of power. And even if they did, OSHA is not the agency to do this."

President Biden announced the rule in September, saying it was for all private sector businesses with more than 100 workers.

Sooner State senator taking a stand

Meanwhile, a bill in Oklahoma could make employers face $1 million in punitive damages if mandated medications cause harm.

The "Citizen Health Mandate Protection Act" (SB 1106) was authored by Republican State Senator Rob Standridge and is aimed at both public and private entities as well as individuals who require vaccines or other medical treatments as a condition of employment.

Standridge, Rob (Oklahoma state senator) Standridge

"We've talked here in Oklahoma about just outlawing the mandates and that doesn't seem to get much traction. So, this was [an] alternative pathway that hopefully gives citizens a little peace of mind that they have recourse," Standridge told the "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" radio program. "We're trying to do the best we can in the situation we're in."

Program host Tony Perkins said he wished every trial lawyer would get behind measures like this in states across the nation. "If you're going to force these workers to get a shot … then these employers need to be on the hook," Perkins stated.

Like a lot of people and politicians speaking out against the mandates, Standridge said he's "not necessarily saying vaccines are bad."

"But when it comes down from the high castle, if you will, it's really dangerous for a country like ours for these commandments to come down," he concluded.

Editor's note: Remarks from ADF attorney Frank Chang added after story was originally published.